SES Toronto 2009 Presentation Recap

I was fortunate enough to present at Search Engine Strategies Toronto 2009 earlier this week. Sure I've done presentations and training sessions with prospects and clients, but those are entirely a different vibe. SES presentations are non-stop with Q&A only after all of the panelists have spoken. There are few cues as to whether the audience understands or even cares about what you're saying. So, I'm putting down some thoughts here now while they're fresh in my head. Should make a good reference if I ever get the chance to present again.

Size of Items on Slides

Presentations in small rooms mean that people will be pretty close to the screen. So there's a really good chance they'll be able to see things clearly. Not so with conferences in really big rooms.

Some items in my presentation were too small to be seen from the back of the room. I confirmed this myself by sitting at the back of another session and looking for what can and can't be seen from there. In theory I'd like everyone to be able to see everything, but that sure will cut down on what you can put on a slide.

Don't Expect to Read from Your Notes

I had this grand vision of carefully going through every bullet I had made a note of. Not at all. I didn't look down even once. Good thing I had practiced several times before standing up at the podium. And don't count on being able to use presentation mode. If the projection system isn't set up correctly, you won't be able to do it.

People Actually Do Like Humor

I borrowed a joke from Mike Grehan for my presentation. I even added one of my own in. I got at least chuckles for both. Have one at the beginning set a good tone and having one in the middle I think helps break the audience silence and maybe even bring back a few people that zoned out.

Questions After The Session Are Good

This is a no-brainer, but I'm noting it anyway. If people come up to you after the session to ask questions, that's a really good sign. This was confirmed by conference organizers I spoke to. I was even lucky enough to have people come up to me during another session.

Be Careful of What You Say and How You Say It

Live blogging is here to stay. That means that your presentation is being reproduced on blogs in real-time. If you say something wrong, it'll go up on the blog wrong. Correct yourself if you can.

Similarly make sure your presentation doesn't have anything that isn't accompanied by context. If you're going to write something that is controversial with the plan of verbally explaining your point, be prepared for just the written part to be broadcast across the web.

Got some more? I'd be happy to add them and give you a link in exchange for the tip!

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